I know I sometimes slack off, a lot, the last few years, but something that still inspires me to “pick up the pen” as it were, is getting refreshing new music from around the globe. Today is one of those days. Seriously, music, from around the planet, is linking us all. That is a seriously awesome connection. The technology we have available makes so much more possible. I suppose that maybe it takes away the former coveted knowledge, secret band thing of the old tape trading days, but waxing nostalgic aside, the unprecedented access to new music from far flung markets is fantastic. But I digress.
I’m listening to the Start Tomorrow EP by Finnish (Oulu, Finland) band Neverlearn. The four tracks are a quick burst of energetic, melodic punk rock. It’s maybe a bit on the pop punk tip with a hint of AFI-esque emo to it. On the whole I dig it.
The guitar leads are as smooth as the rhythm is tight. This is especially present on track 3, Gravel Pit. The vocals are pulled back and ever so slightly washed out. It gives the song an interesting far away sound.
Though there are only four tracks on the EP, it starts strong, keeps ramping up, and finishes stronger that it started.
There’s a common theme in music and especially punk music where band’s that have been around for awhile will have fans who will say “their music was better when…..” and they yearn for the “the good old days.”. Enter Blossom Hill, a pop punk band from Finland who released their debut LP, Sidetracks, in October.
On Sidetracks, the group seems to have (fairly successfully whether intentional or not) melded together what sounds like two different eras of Green Day inspired music. From the get go a listener can expect vocals that sound like they are inspired by 39/Smooth or Kerplunk eras and guitar riffs that sound derived right from the Insomniac/Nimrod timeline.
This is what I hear when I listen, and is what I am going to base my critique on. To me they sound like one my favorite Green Day eras (Insomniac/Nimrod) and my least favorite (39/Smooth). Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy Sidetracks, but my feelings are very mixed. I hate to make direct comparisons to bands as they take time to create something their own but I can’t get over my first impressions of the album, and for a person who can still tell you what he was doing when he first heard Dookie in ’94, nothing will ever compare. At the same time, I can’t think of another band that has brought me back in time to a groups (so-called) glory days the way they have.
With that said, Sidetracks does not really have tracks that stand out in my mind either good or bad, and it had things I liked and things I didn’t. But if you are one of those nostalgic Green Day fans who thinks “they were better when….” check out Blossom Hill, maybe they can transport you back there.